Feb. 5, 2015
Georgia Tech Head Coach Brian Gregory
“In college basketball today and in sports today I’d be remiss if I didn’t start off and obviously congratulate Coach K and that unbelievable accomplishment. But as I told him before the game, a thousand wins is obviously very, very impressive, but that number pales in comparison to the amount of people he’s positively impacted in his time here at Duke and his time at Army and so-forth. I don’t know him that well, but I would only assume that’s why he got into coaching. It’s not about the wins and the losses. Those are nice, no doubt about it, but you look at what he’s done for the players here for the people in basketball all around, and for other coaches as well. He’s a guy who’s always done it the right way. His players have always done it the right way. It’s just a remarkable accomplishment. So now, coming off a tough loss on Saturday, that’s what you face is you try to bounce back and try to get going. Proud of our guys in terms of their fight and the intensity they played with. I remember four years ago we came here, actually it was three years ago, my second year, and we had a bunch of guys taking pictures and stuff like that of the arena. Our guys came today in there and fought, and there’s a big difference there. I think it bodes well for what we’re doing. Unfortunately they made a couple crucial plays down the stretch, and we weren’t able to get a couple big defensive rebounds after getting some stops. Thought that was a big key in the game. But give them credit – they’re well-balanced.
I thought we did a great job on [Jahlil] Okafor today, that they can go in some different areas. Disappointed that we weren’t able to finish that thing up. But they’re a very good team, only going to get better, and so are we.”
On their stretch at six minutes:
“That was a big play, down one, and we had the ball. We really set up a good action. Got them stretched out a little bit and opened up the lane for Marcus [Georges-Hunt]. Wasn’t able to finish that play and they got the break at the other end and an and-one, I think. But they’re really good obviously. And what they do is, especially down the stretch, every single little mistake you make they seem to take advantage of. And at the same time we got some big stops at the end there, too. Just not enough.
We’re a good free shooting team; we only got down to the line 12 times. But to beat a team like Duke on the road you have to go 10 for 12 on the line like that. You have to hold them to 10 offensive rebounds instead of 14. You probably have to make 10 turnovers instead of 14 for us. Six, seven possessions I talked about over a 40-minute game. We’re not there yet. We’re able to compete. Now we need to keep pushing forward so we can get to that point.”
On the team’s loss despite its excellent performance:
“Only if we’re playing at Duke. Unfortunately that’s what this league is about. Us and a few other teams in this league are a great example. We played pretty darn good. We’re not perfect. We’ve had 10 games in the league. We’ve had one bad effort. And that’s the second half at Virginia, and they can do that to you. We probably deserve a few more wins and we haven’t got it.
That’s what this league is all about right now. To our guys’ credit, they pick themselves up and get back to work and go back at it again. When it’s all said and done, it’s a pretty good characteristic.”
On the wide coverage of Jahlil Okafor:
“You’ve just got to make a couple baskets. I think the whole game long we had one bad defensive coverage on him. What did he score, two baskets on post moves? He had five baskets, so he had the dunk in transition, he had an offensive rebound for a put-back. So maybe he had three post moves. The last two years we’ve been blessed with Daniel Miller, he was an all-defensive first team All-American last year. Demarco Cox was equal to the task tonight defensively. The one he scored late where he ran all the way down the late where he shot that hook, we’ve got to get some help on that. We went into a post trap in the last two possessions, kind of changed it up on him, I thought that was effective. For the most part, Chuck [Charles Mitchell] guarded him, and Demarco [Cox] guarded him. Believe me, he’s a heck of a player now. We felt pretty good about not giving up a bunch of three’s because of double-teaming or over-sagging him.”
Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski
“The game tonight was what I thought it would be. I thought it was going to be just a very, very difficult game. Brian [Gregory] has done such a great job with his team. I’m watching them come out with three minutes to go on the clock and you watch them warm up and they have such good body language. He is so upbeat. You would think they’re a 7-3 team, and they could be with about 7 more possessions. I thought that we did not expect that level of performance or toughness and some of it has to do with the week we just had. You win a big game. Saturday’s game was like a Wisconsin game, but then we never had a chance to play after Wisconsin so we didn’t get a chance. How do you do that and then do something else? Virginia win is a huge win. Now you gotta do it again. I didn’t think we were emotionally at the level that we needed to be, no matter what we did. Again, not that our kids weren’t ready to play, but they could not get that level of emotion and I think it showed primarily in our backcourt. As good as Tyus [Jones] and Quinn [Cook] have played, the first half was not a good half for us. A lot of how we play is a result of how good they are, and they are good. Again, I go to battle with them all the time but then in the second half. For them to respond in the second half after not having that, that’s something some of our teams have not been able to do with the adjustments emotionally during the game. I’ll say that for Jah [Okafor] too. I thought Jah was at his best in the last eight minutes when you should be tired and [DeMarco] Cox is a strong dude. You can’t move him and he plays with poise. He is a man and he played well, but Jah at the end really made some amazing moves, Justise [Winslow] with defense, Matt with coming off the bench. We won a hard-earned win tonight. That is a hard-earned win.”
On play by Matt Jones:
“He’s done that before but starting with the St. John’s game I thought he was key in the St. John’s game and he’s been key in every game since. Tough player. He is just a tough player. I think he had 11 points in the first half. We ended the half so poorly. That’s as poor as we’ve ended any half for a long time. We had an eight-point lead, we go for two-for-ones. We just threw the ball away and we threw a press at them to get the ball. They scored four points. If we had lost I thought the end of half would have been the reason. But then we were able to muck it out. That was such a poor end of half by us, and we’re usually really good at it. But we weren’t tonight.”
On Quinn Cook:
“They’re human beings. These guys play in so many big games and we are one of those teams that we are a big game for everybody. To try to do that 30-something times, that’s what we’ve tried to do for 25 years. You’re not always successful in doing it. That’s why I said with him in the second half was spectacular because it wasn’t going that way and he’s able to turn it around. He showed a lot of experience. Doing that was a neat message to send to his teammates as a leader. And [Chris] Bolden went nuts. He had two or three at the end of the clock. Jackson hit a dagger late after a loose ball and one second. Some of those plays too when your team can respond. When that happens to you, you’ve played your butt off for 34 minutes and you have a seven or five point lead, and boom, its four or two. Our guys showed some toughness and resilience when they threw a couple knockout shots there. It knocked us back but it didn’t knock us out.”
On emotional fatigue:
“It’s human nature and that’s what you compete against. If you want to be really good all the time, human nature is your biggest opponent because you’re up, you’re excited, you’re a little bit worn out. How do you stay consistent during those things that happen to human beings? They’re happening to eight kids, four of them are freshmen and for the very first time. They want to do well. Our guys are terrific. They’re beautiful kids and they’re working like crazy and I just keep having to try to do things. For Saturday, we have a quick turnaround here and we play against another really good team. The league is unforgiving in that there’s so many good teams. Sometimes one schedule is more than that than others. We have a tough schedule. We’re on the road at Louisvulle, at Syracuse, at Notre Dame, at NC State. We knew that going in. It wears on you. To be able to win a game in this manner, that’s what keeps you afloat and gets you tournament ready. We’ve still got a number of games until we are tournament qualified. This was another step closer to doing that.”